Cree is an Algonquian language spoken from the west
coast of James Bay to the foot (tf the Rocky Mountains,
including the boreal forestjregfons of northern Ontario
and Manitoba as well as the prairies of Saskatchewan
and Alberta. Cree speakers are estimated to number
between 60,000 and 70,000 (Canada. Indian Affairs
Branch 1970); of these, approximately 26,000 use the
Plains Cree dialect.
In the absence of detailed dialect studies, a working
390 classification of Cree dialects based on the varying
reflexes of Proto-Algonquian */ has found general
acceptance, along with such crude labels as Plains
Cree, Swampy Cree, Woods Cree, and Moose Cree
(Lacombe 1874:xv; Michelson 1939; Wolfart 1973,
1992:356-359; for the controversial question of the
eastern delimitation of Cree proper cf. Pentland 1978;
and MacKenzie 1980). The major varieties of Cree
could be considered either highly divergent dialects
(vol. 6:52-53) or closely similar languages showing
considerable mutual intelligibility ("Introduction,"
table 3, this vol.).
Wolfart, H. C. 1996. Sketch of Cree, an Algonquian Language.
In: Goddard, Ives (ed.) Handbook of North American Indians
Vol 17: Languages. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.